On Monday, Travis so eloquently announced that sales of the Mazda3 are abysmal, and that despite it being an altogether better car, people would rather die slowly a thousand deaths and have their souls quietly sucked out in their Corollas and Civics. At least they know these cars are safe, and reliable. Not so fast, there, Buddy.
After getting tons of flack for my opinion on the matter, I decided I would fight back with the only weapon I could; numbers. Numbers do not lie. They just stare back at you with that cold, distant stare of one who knows how it all ends. In a game of who will blink first, numbers always win. Always. Uncaring, without mercy, numbers always tell the truth.
Finding those numbers, however, proved to be a bit of a challenge. This was confirmed with another excellent report on how elusive the data for recalls really is. It would seem as though someone doesn't want you, the consumer, to be able to find out how reliable your trusted auto maker really is, or isn't.
With some excellent help from "It's a 'Porch-Uh," who was able to analyze the Flat File data the NTHSA provides through their website, we are finally able to see clearly how everyone's favorite brands have been doing in terms of reliability over the last 10 years. I chose the last decade because it presents a good picture of how a brand has done in the recent past, and if they have had issues, that they have learned from and corrected them. Beyond 10 years, I feel, you approach historical data that isn't relevant to the current production of cars. Especially since beyond 2004 there is so little technology in most cars, which we have learned can skew reports to appear as though a company can't build a car that starts, stops, turns, and drives well, even though it's just those danged new-fangled touchy-wiz gizmos they put in cars these days.
Looking a the spreadsheet "It's a 'Porch-Uh" compiled, Mazda ranks in at 78th, with 95 product recalls, among all companies that have vehicles recalled. They are 16th among only US car makers. Clearly Mazda is quite capable of building a very reliable car.
But where are Honda and Toyota? Well, I'm glad you asked. Toyota ranks in at 5th overall, with 1,037 recalls; 2nd among just US auto makers. Honda is 19th overall, with 418 recalls, and is 7th among US brands.
Okay. "So what? How many total vehicles have been affected by such recalls?" Toyota leads the list with 486,010,971 vehicles affected since 2004. Hmm...And people still swear by Toyota's "legendary reliability." Honda is 4th with 130,243,311 total vehicles affected. Also, not quite as reliable as people had thought.
Mazda is 13th among US brands, 24th when included with all vehicle manufacturers, with a total of 5,461,345 vehicles affected by recalls since 2004. Granted, Mazda's sales have never been on the same scale as their Japanese cousins. However, Toyota and Honda recalled orders of magnitude more vehicles in the last 10 years. One would expect them to have a few more cars in their totals owing to their production numbers. But a discrepancy that large is shocking.
The numbers do not lie. Mazda is the most solid, reliable, and best Japanese brand to buy.